Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Pastoralia: Why Did Jesus Teach So Much?

Pastoralia: Things having relation to spiritual care or guidance; the duties of a pastor.
Oxford English Dictionary

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If you've done much reading in the Gospels I'm sure that you've seen plenty of variations on this theme:
And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them. Mark 10.1
Did you ever wonder why Jesus taught so much? Wherever He goes, it seems that He starts teaching somebody, whether it's the crowds or the Pharisees or His disciples. Why so much teaching? Here are a few ideas.

First, there are things that we need to know. And we need to know them because what we think about life and things and the world will determine how we will deal with life and things and the world. If I think that a chair is looks like it's about to fall apart I won't sit in it. If I think that certain offenses just can't be forgiven then I won't forgive that person who just committed one of those offenses against me. If I think that the mechanic on the corner can be trusted I'll take my car to him. What we think about life and things and the world is really important. Jesus thought so. And that's why He taught. He was trying to explain life and things and the world so that people would have an accurate understanding and thus could live well. What we think determines how we live.

Then, there's this. Ultimately, changing a person's life requires changing that person's heart, the deep, inner person. Any change that is less than that is merely superficial, temporary change. The actions of that person might change, but the root issues are the same old, same old. Real change is deep change, a change of the heart.

The only way that a person's heart can be changed is if the Spirit of God does the changing. And the way that the Spirit reaches - and changes - the heart is through the mind. Actually, along with the affections and the will, the mind is just a part of the heart. If the mind is taught, the will and the affections will be affected, changed. And so, Jesus taught.

And that leads to an interesting side thought. Jesus was a teacher and not an activist. He didn't organize people so that they could effect change. He taught them about life and things and the world. And as they learned they were changed. The difference that resulted would be noticed by the people around them. These others would be attracted by what they saw and would then come to be taught about how to deal with life and things and the world. This is how Jesus changes the world.

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